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Slavic and Eastern European Studies

Russian Reference Works

Copyright by Wojciech Zalewski. No part of it can be copied without the author's permission.

Outline of reference sources

This reference guide leads to all published reference sources if used according to the methodology explained below.

The categories covered in the guide are:

General Bibliographies

INION Bibliographies
(Institut Nauchnoi Informatsii po Obshchestvennym Naukam, contains current, most up to date subject bibliographies)

Non-Bibliographic Reference Sources

Subject bibliographies

Social Sciences

Within each area study materials are organized according to the most common bibliographic search practice: Step 1. general bibliographies, encompassing the entire field; Step 2. Current bibliographies, for search of the most recent publications; Step 3. bibliographies of bibliographies for access to specialized bibliographies; Step 4. bibliographic textbooks for orientation in the entire field.

Data sources and other non-bibliographic reference materials (spravochniki) should be identified through guides, bibliographies of non-bibliographic materials and directory of directories. There are also listings of the most common used encyclopedias, biographical and statistical sources.

Bibliographic search

The field of references is divided into two main parts: bibliographic references and non-bibliographic or data reference sources. While the former leads to information the latter provides the information itself. The guide included in this part of the Home Page provides both.

Although the mass of reference sources available may be overwhelming and may seem to be chaotic, it has some structure which helps to navigate within it.

In order to determine the proper reference source it is not sufficient to focus on subject or field of study but also more formal parameters should be considered. These may be:

Language(s) in which materials are sought (very few reference tools cover several languages and if they do their scope is limited)
Publication dates: recent publications are to be found in recent current bibliographies, older materials in older reference tools;
Publication format: books, periodical articles, reviews, non print materials, etc.;
Type of publication: bibliographic, biographic data, etc.
(Types of reference materials with definitions are listed at the end of this introduction.)

The following steps are recommended:

Begin with your catalog (at Stanford called SOCRATES). A search under author, title, key word or subject may result in a list of monographs which in turn may contain further bibliographic references. For limited needs a browsing of shelves may also prove useful. For more complete search consult bibliographies and indexes available at Stanford through FOLIO.

Western bibliographies, including bibliographies in electronic formats, inadequately cover materials in Slavic languages. Consequently, bibliographies produced in the cultural realm within which the information is sought have to be used. The search process will depend on the scope of the search: the more detailed the information is needed, the more specific the reference tool that needs to be used.

Seeking the most recently published materials or subjects for which bibliographic coverage does not yet exist, use national and current bibliographies in subject areas.

Seeking older literature on the subject, for general information consult general bibliographies covering entire fields. For more specific information detect the existence of a subject bibliography, searching bibliographies of bibliographies as well as bibliographies of bibliographies of bibliographies. If a search within the field of study does not render results, general bibliographies, especially national and regional bibliographies and their various subseries, need to be consulted.

Search for non-bibliographic, data reference sources

For non bibliographic reference determine the type of information you need and seek corresponding reference tools according to categories outlined below:

Non-bibliographic and data sources are identified through directories, guides and bibliographies to them. To determine what type of materials is being sought consider the following:

People [who]

  • biographic dictionaries
  • encyclopedias
  • pseudonym dictionaries
  • address books
  • genealogy
  • heraldry
  • directories
Subjects [what]
  • Encyclopedias
  • Dictionaries
Institutions [what]
  • directories (including telephone directories)
  • address books
  • calendars
Places [where]
  • geographic dictionaries
  • geographic encyclopedias
  • gazetteers
  • atlases, maps
Times, events [when]
  • chronologies
  • calendars
Numerical [how much/many]
  • statistics
  • censuses
  • metrology
Linguistic (dictionaries)

Bibliographies of data sources:

  • general
  • special (subject)
Guides to data sources
  • printed
  • electronic
In summary: Consult SOCRATES and FOLIO bibliographic and data files. Go to bibliographies. For Russian reference use this guide: 1. consult the machine readable file; 2. go to subject sections; 3. complement your search with general bibliography and catalogs; and 4. update it through the current bibliography and national bibliography; 5. expand your search through bibliographies of bibliographies in subject as well as general sections. For data sources go to non-bibliographic references. Identify what type of information you need (biography, statistics, directory) and open the relevant file.


Older materials listed in such guides and bibliographies as those by P.A. Zaionchkovskii, J.S.G. Simmons, P.L. Horecky (see general bibliography) are mostly omitted and users are referred to these sources. However, an effort has been made to cover the most representative bibliographies in the field, the crucial non-bibliographic sources and major reference works published since the 1970s.

Not included are specific bibliographies and data sources. These can be found through listed guides, bibliographies of bibliographies and national bibliographies.

Descriptions of selected, primarily bibliographic, reference categories

Catalogs, whether union catalogs, printed or on line: cover books and titles of periodicals but not articles;

Textbooks: describe in a narrative form the whole spectrum of reference materials, publishing forms and series and offer a guidance on how to use them.

Guides: list and often annotate not only reference materials (bibliographic and non-bibliographic) but refer to other major resources such as histories of a discipline, editions of major works in the fields.

National bibliography: subdivided into series: books, lists of serials, indexes to journals, reviews, dissertations. Published currently it lists the most recent imprints.

General bibliographies: cover all subjects and are limited: geographically (national, regional), by publisher (government, institution such as the academy of sciences), chronologically, or cover all subjects within a given area study.

Current bibliographies are published periodically. They are either national (general in scope) or in area studies and offer the most recent coverage of literature in the field.

Special or subject bibliographies devoted to an area study, a region, period or subject: cover books and articles unless distinctly limited to books.

Indexes: give contents of serials and collections of articles. Indexes can be to several journals or to a single journal.

Directories of data sources: provide institutional data such as leading officers, addresses and purpose.

Directories of data sources: list producers of bibliographies and data in electronic formats.

Guides to archives: combine directory data with references to information tools describing the contents of archives.

List of abbreviations used

AN Akademiia nauk SSSR CHANGED TO Rossiiskaia Akademiia Nauk
GAU Glavnoe arkhivnoe upravlenie
GPI Gosudarstvennaia publichnaia istoricheskaia biblioteka RSFSR
IL Vserossiiskaia gosudarstvennaia ordena trudovogo krasnogo znameni biblioteka inostrannoi literatury imeni Rudomino.
INION Institut nauchnoi informatsii po obshchestvennym naukam
MGU Moskovskii gosudarstvennyi universitet imeni M.V. Lomonosova
MPB Gosudarstvennaia ordena Lenina biblioteka SSSR imeni V.I. Lenina CHANGED TO Rossiiskaia gosudarstvennaia biblioteka
SS Gosudarstvennaia ordena trudovogo krasnogo znameni publichnaia biblioteka imeni M.E. Saltykova-Shchedrina CHANGED TO Rossiiskaia natsional'naia biblioteka
VKP Vsesoiuznaia knizhnaia palata, CHANGED TO Rossiiskaia knizhnaia palata
comp. compiler
comps. compilers
ed. editor
edn. edition
edns. editions
eds. editors
p. page
pp. pages
pt. part
pts. parts
vol. volume
vols. volumes



Last modified: June 27, 2005

©2005 The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved.
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